Trusting the IESG to manage the reform process (was: Re: Doing t he Right Things?)

Hallam-Baker, Phillip pbaker at
Mon Jun 23 21:30:49 CEST 2003

John Klensen writes:

but that no one on the IESG has been willing to speak up in public and say
"I see a problem here, but it is all those other folks, not me", then there
is something hopelessly broken about the nomcom model, probably to the point
that we need to discard it and start over. 

I have been saying for some time that the NOMCON model is broken. Of course
I am not on the IESG and the procedures of the NOMCON will make sure that
people like myself are never selected, which is of course the point.

I have been reading "The Tipping Point", ok so pop-psychology but one point
that is made rings very true, the rule of 150. Basically there is a limit to
the size organizations can grow without formal structure which seems to be
stuck at about 150. That is why every army from the Roman legions onwards
has been organized into companies of about 100-200 men.

That would explain the problem that the IETF has been facing trying to keep
the creative anarchy model going. It simply does not scale beyond a certain
size. The parts of the IETF that have been working have been working because
they have worked in isolation. The security area for example consists of
roughly 100 active participants.

It would also explain the generation gap problem. The simple fact is that no
matter what anyone under 40 does in the IETF they are never going to get
accepted into the inner circle.

I want a system with accountability. NOMCON is the type of scheme a bunch of
academics cook up to make sure they keep power in their own hands.

Democracy is working just fine in OASIS. We elect the WG chairs, it is
amazing the difference that simple change alone makes. The IETF does not
even believe in announcing upcomming vacancies. The DNSEXT chair just
changed with no prior advertisement of a vacancy for the position - unless
of course you are a member of the inner circle.

IETF processes are not open and not inclusive, the guff about them being so
is simply propaganda to fool the proletariat.

The generation gap is significant for many reasons, not least the issue of
what happens when the establishement chooses to retire. There are some
courtiers waiting in the wings for their moment of glory but I doubt that
they will carry much influence outside the IETF.

The engineering reason the generation gap is significant is that there is a
dramatic difference of perspective between people who grew up with the
machine and people who watched it being invented. To me the computer is
simply another utility, no more deserving of wonder than electricity, gas or
running water. It is not enough that something function, it has to function
seamlessly. Instead the establishment tolerates Rube Goldberg contraptions
that run with the grace and elegance of a pre WWI vintage motor car.

The IETF is still attracting younger engineers, but they are by and large
the sort who are interested in maintaining vintage communication protocols
rather than designing better ones.


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